Wheeeeeeeee! I have some money again, though not a lot of time, but I’m determined to finish and further expand the projects I started with such gusto last year.
Both the Tempest and FS1r are blurred memories, and I’ve been getting my kicks, whenever possible, with a Monomachine/Blofeld Combo.
The great thing about this pairing is that I can sequence 6 channels of Blofeld multimode goodness alongside 5 Monomachine tracks, with the 6th track acting as the FX machine for the Blofeld, which is routed back through the MnM inputs. A nice, self contained, and gloriously digital setup. Did I mention that MnM does killer drum synthesis?
On the the MnM it is possible to input chords using an external MIDI keyboard for the Arps and external sequencing.
I have an cheapo Akai LPK USB mid keyboard that would make a nice compliment to this mini setup. But MnM only accepts 5-pin DIN MIDI. One existing option is the Kenton USB MIDI Host, but that goes for over 100 euro.
I got to thinking that I could use my similarly-abandoned and superseded Raspberry Pi 1, and a MIDI 1×1 USB MIDI cable that never got used because it kept causing bluescreens on my Windows PC. What if I could use the Pi to route the output of the LPK through the 1×1?
Well yes, it’s possible, works perfectly, and is really easy to get running.
Any flavour of linux will do, in my case I’m using a Raspberry Pi v1 with an optimised Raspbian Wheezy image I downloaded from here. I’ve also got this to work on a Rpi2 using the official Ubuntu ARMv7 distro.
The instructions for both are the same.
By the way, on the latest raspbian, it works out of the box. No need to install anything
Obviously, with only 2 USB ports on the Pi v1, there is no room for wireless, so I needed to login over ethernet.
Once a command prompt is available, it’s a matter of installing Alsa:
sudo apt-get install alsa alsa-utils
Now connect the *class compliant* MIDI devices, in my case the Akai LPK25 and E-mu USB MIDI 1×1.
To show all connected MIDI devices:
sudo amidi -l
Show connection status and port numbers of connected MIDI devices
sudo aconnect -i -o
Look for the device ID, which is in the format x:0. In my case, the LPK25 was 20:0 and the Emu 1×1 was 16:0. So to connect the output of the LPK to the output of the Emu, just go:
sudo aconnect 20:0 16:0
…and voila! Works a treat here, no latency and I’ve sent boatloads of MIDI through it.
To dump all midi message to the screen,
sudo amidi -d
Naturally, we will want this connection to happen automatically every time we start the Pi. Of the several ways to do this, I opted for the laziest, which was to make a root crontab.
If you’re not root already,
at the end of the file, enter the aconnect command that works for you to run at reboot, e.g.
@reboot aconnect 20:0 16:0